Dramatic West Indian Collapse Gives South Africa a Decisive Edge in Third Test

South Africa CricketAt one time on the fourth day, it looked as if the West Indies were moving towards something great as Samuels and Chanderpaul continued to build the innings. Chanderpaul played very watchfully and dealt with every ball on its merit. Samuels, on the other hand went on punishing Harmer. West Indies progressed easily and still had seven wickets in hand with a healthy lead of close to a 100 runs. But suddenly Philander, Harmer and Steyn applied pressure and the fiery Samuels was kept from scoring. Just 4 runs of the last 28 balls made the West Indian too impatient and he charged at Harmer to play a lofty shot that was meant to clear the ground. Instead, the spin on the ball did the trick and the skier landed in the safe hands of the mid-on fielder. Samuels’ dismissal opened the floodgates and from 182/3, West Indies lost all their wickets for just 33 more runs. The South African bowlers dominated, crushed the middle order and severed the tail. The last 6 wickets fell for the addition of just 13 runs and West Indies’ total of 215 runs gave South Africa a target of 124 on the final day. They have already reduced it by 9 runs at the end of the fourth day’s play but they lost Alviro Petersen’s wicket. 115 on the last day should be no problems for the hosts.

No play was possible until the tea on the fourth day as rainwater had seeped into the ground. The umpires cleared the play after tea with West Indies beginning from the overnight 88/2. Continuing their stance from the previous evening, Shivnarine Chanderpaul and Marlon Samuels kept frustrating the South African bowlers. There were some chances offered but those were not taken. One of the easiest was AB de Villiers dropping Chanderpaul, when the batsman had scored 33. Otherwise, the veteran West Indian played intently without trying anything adventurous. Samuels on the other end kept Harmer out of harm’s way and even smashed the debutant off-spinner a few times. Just as their partnership approached the three-figure mark, Samuels lost his patience after scoring just 4 runs in 28 balls and went for a release. That cost him his wicket. He charged down the crease to lift Harmer out of the ground but the spinning ball made his task difficult. He didn’t get the height as the skier floated over the head of the long-on fielder and Dean Elgar completed an easy catch.

But Samuels had done his job and with Chanderpaul still there, the West Indian middle order was expected to carry on from that point forward. Blackwood and Chanderpaul added 20 runs for the fifth wicket as the score went past 200. For South Africa, the progress of the West Indian innings was an ominous sign. On the last ball of the 72nd over, Dale Steyn struck to take Blackwood’s wicket. It was an angled delivery that looked like seaming away. But the pace was healthy and even as Blackwood shaped for a drive, he missed it completely. The delivery shattered the middle and off stumps and West Indies were reduced to 202/5. No one knew that the end would come soon as Steyn struck yet again. This time he bowled on Denesh Ramdin’s pads and as the batsman played on the leg side, he couldn’t keep the shot down and Harmer snapped a low catch in front of the square leg. Next to go was Holder, who holed out to Harmer at short mid-wicket as he played a rank bad shot in the 77th over. Harmer removed Jerome Taylor in the same over, when the batsman tried to play a T20 shot picking an off-side ball to drive on the short midwicket area. The looped up ball easily found Dean Elgar. In the next over, Steyn removed Benn, who produced a thick edge and de Villiers caught him easily. The disaster was completed in the 80th over, when Chanderpaul was run out for 5o and West Indies innings folded at 215.

Just three overs remained in the rain-curtailed day, when the South Africa openers walked up to the crease with a 124-run victory target. They have made 9 but on the third ball of the last over of the day, Benn bowled Alviro Petersen. Even so, the last day’s play should see South Africa taking the series 2-0, with 115 to get and nine wickets still in hand.

R K Gupta

R K Gupta

Mr. RK Gupta has been a prolific Kridangan writer on major international sport-events for last two years. Basically a Mechanical Engineer and Administrative Management Post Graduate, Mr. Gupta took to blog-writing as a hobby after his retirement in 2011. He graduated to full-time sports-writing after joining Kridangan.com in 2013. Most of Mr. Gupta’s posts are topical and analytical in nature; completely distinct from usual media reports. His narration on popular sports-events lends uniqueness to the reporting and makes it enjoyable for global sports readership.
R K Gupta

R K Gupta

Mr. RK Gupta has been a prolific Kridangan writer on major international sport-events for last two years. Basically a Mechanical Engineer and Administrative Management Post Graduate, Mr. Gupta took to blog-writing as a hobby after his retirement in 2011. He graduated to full-time sports-writing after joining Kridangan.com in 2013. Most of Mr. Gupta’s posts are topical and analytical in nature; completely distinct from usual media reports. His narration on popular sports-events lends uniqueness to the reporting and makes it enjoyable for global sports readership.

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